Fish Farmers Face Unique Challenges with Invasive Species

The HACCP concept is one way of helping fish producers limit the spread of invasive species

October 9, 2019, 2:02 pm | Joe Morris

Young trout being poured into a growout tank at a fish hatchery by Adri/stock.adobe.com.AMES, Iowa – In addition to food safety, fish producers also need to consider their impact on the larger ecosystem, making sure their operation is doing its part to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The nature of an aquaculture operation, whether the fish are kept indoors or outdoors, poses certain risks that producers should review by applying the principals of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HAACP), similar to what is used to minimize seafood consumption risks.

Some common examples of exotic species include Asian carp, zebra mussels, and Viral Haemorrhagic Septicaemia (VHS).

To help producers understand invasive species control, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC) have published a fact sheet called “Aquatic Invasive Species HACCP in Baitfish and Aquaculture Operations.”

Joe Morris, NCRAC director and professor and extension aquaculture specialist at Iowa State, said no one wants to be the cause of introducing an exotic species, but prevention takes careful planning.

“We’re trying to encourage producers to take an in-depth look at their standard operating procedures to control the spread of exotic plants, animals and species,” Morris said.

Fish producers also need to be aware of certain transportation requirements, he said, including permits for transporting certain species across state lines.

Risks with aquaculture are typically associated with the moving of fish and water, the use of contaminated surface water, collection of contaminated stocks, and using water or equipment from contaminated facilities.

This publication helps producers understand what they must do, in a way that is intended to help producers maintain the economic viability of their industry.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also developed its own AIS-HACCP training programs, examples of acceptable plans, and a tool for developing AIS-HACCP plans.

The NCRAC is located at Iowa State, and manages research and extension programs for the 12-state North Central Region.

 

Photo credit: Adri/stock.adobe.com

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